The Common Council of the City of Point Pleasant, a Municipal Corporation in Mason County, West Virginia, met in Regular Session at City Hall, 400 Viand Street at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 10, 2011.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian L. Billings who led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Darlene Haer- (Kisar Home Contract) Ms. Haer approached Council to request approval to use the $200,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant for the Kisar House slate roof. Bids were received for the project and the winning bid was placed by General Restoration out of Columbus Ohio for the amount of $189,915. This company has provided a $100,000 performance and payment bond with a 90 day completion period. Councilman Robert Doeffinger commended Main Street members for a great job on obtaining the grant and the bid process. Doeffinger made a motion to authorize the Mayor to sign the necessary paperwork and for the grant to be spent accordingly. Linda Smith added the second motion which passed 8-0.
Ron Harper- DHHR(ESP/EIP Contracts)- was not in attendance
No one was in attendance for public comment this evening.
William Park made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for December 13, 2010 and a second was given by Gary Cotton. Motion to approve minutes passed 8-0. A motion made by Marshall Bonecutter was seconded by James Bowles to approve the financial statements of the General, Coal Severance, Water and Sewer Funds for the month of December 2010. The financial statements were approved 8-0. Councilwoman Linda Smith made a motion to approve the outstanding obligations for the month of December 2010, and Mr. Bonecutter seconded the motion. Councilman Cotton advised he noticed the purchase of kerosene from City Ice & Fuel and asked about the usage. He was told it is used for City workers while working in the storage building at Krodel. Motion to approve outstanding obligations passed 7-0-1, with Sang abstaining
Attorney R.F. Stein updated Council regarding the delinquent Municipal Service Fees
He stated he researched the procedure for placing liens on real estate through City ordinances and State Code procedures. He asked Council if they wished to move forward with placing the liens or if they wanted to allow one more opportunity for owners to pay the delinquent fees. Councilwoman Sang asked for Attorney Stein to send a letter to those individuals who are delinquent advising that this is the last opportunity to pay the fees before liens will be placed on their properties. If he receives no response, proceed with necessary filings.
Attorney Stein then took the opportunity to update Council on two long time dilapidated properties located in the City. Attorney Stein told Council he is still working on paperwork against the Yeager Property that is located on Main Street. He is continuing with the code procedures and will report back to Council with a response from Yeager, if received. Stein then told Council he has filed the complaint concerning the Franklin Property. He amended the complaint and it was filed and now it needs to be served properly. They have 120 days to respond once it is served and he will update Council as he receives information.
City Clerk Amber Tatterson read a resolution to make application for West Virginia Community Participation Grant Funds for $7,000 for the City of Point Pleasant Skateboard Park. A motion was made by
Marshall Bonecutter and seconded by James Bowles, and the motion carried.
Tatterson read a resolution to make application for West Virginia Community Participation Grant Funds for $15,000 for City Of Point Pleasant paving. A motion was made by Mr. Bonecutter to approve the application and seconded by Mr. Bowles. The motion passed 8-0.
The Clerk also read a resolution to make application for West Virginia Community Participation Grant Funds for $25,000 for Riverfront Murals and golf carts for visitor transportation. A motion was made by William Park and seconded by Mr. Bonecutter, which passed 8-0.
Clerk Tatterson concluded by advising Council that the City Inspector included a letter in their packets that addressed the condition of his city provided vehicle. She stated the vehicle is not in good condition and currently has a flat tire. The tire has not been replaced since a key is required to remove the tire and that key is missing. The inspector is currently driving his personal vehicle since the City car is out of service. Doeffinger stated that the inspector should receive reimbursement for mileage put on his personal vehicle. James Bowles told Council he knows the vehicle is not in good condition and likely was not cared for over the years and a good used vehicle should be obtained. Tatterson advised she was provided with a state bid list of vehicles for Council to consider. The Jeep Compass is a small SUV priced at $15,673; a Ford Fusion is a small four-door priced at $15,125; and Chevy Impala is a mid-sized four-door priced at $16,499. Based on the prices provided the inspector would like for consideration of the Jeep Compass due to the extra cargo space it would provide. Ms. Sang asked if it was necessary to have a four-wheel drive SUV in the City. Tatterson stated it was not necessary but based on the small price difference between the small four-door and the SUV, the inspector liked the idea of the extra cargo space the SUV would allow. The Clerk said that he occasionally has needed to pick up signs, etc. and had to borrow a truck from the Street Department. The inspector would like a truck, but the cost is too high and he would appreciate any vehicle at this point. Councilman Juniper advised the prices were good and it would be hard for any local dealerships to compete. He then asked the Mayor and Clerk if the City went with the state bid is it necessary to put bids out for the vehicle. The Mayor stated that it is not necessary to receive bids if you elect to purchase from the state bid list. Mayor Billings also reminded Council that in November the Street Department asked for Council to consider the purchase of a new truck and he planned to put it on the agenda for further consideration in February or March. Juniper asked if the City can afford to purchase a vehicle for the inspector. Tatterson stated that she and the accountant have looked at the numbers and the account would not be greatly affected by the purchase. Mr. Snowden indicated that if the City is concerned with spending and is needing to purchase two vehicles they could consider two used ones rather than new, but you still would have issues with needing to do repairs regularly. It was mentioned that additional B&O taxes are expected from various construction projects currently taking place and that would allow comfort in the purchase for the inspector. Mr. Doeffinger asked Tatterson to make sure sub-contractors were paying for their license fees and taxes. Mr. Cotton commented on the possibility of taxes going down due to the loss of a few businesses, such as Dollar General. Tatterson advised that the Dollar Store contributed approximately $5,000 in taxes and the other businesses were minimal in taxes. Councilman Juniper advised that perhaps the vehicle for the inspector could be paid for out of the general fund while a truck for the Street Department could be financed like the dump truck was for the Sewer Department. Juniper then made a motion to allow local dealerships an opportunity to bid on a vehicle for the inspector. The figures could be presented to Council at the next meeting. Bonecutter advised he would check with John Sang Ford and hope to get a discount. Gary Cotton added the second motion and it passed 8-0.
Mayor Brian Billings advised Council that during the public hearing held prior to tonight’s meeting the City received no verbal or written comments for the proposed amendment to Article 165 pertaining to the City’s pay ordinance. Mayor Billings asked for a motion to approve the final reading of the pay ordinance for the Mayor of 2012. The pay ordinance will increase the 2012 Mayor’s salary by $1,673.44. The Mayor’s salary was previously reduced by the same amount with the adoption of the pay ordinance in early 2010. Councilman James Bowles made a motion to approve the final reading while William Park added the second motion. Ms. Sang told Council that she doesn’t make a quick decision pertaining to a pay raise for the Mayor or Clerk. Compensation for those positions should be set at a level that would attract good qualified individuals. She also thinks that the City needs to update the process for candidate nominations. Anyone should be able to file to run for office rather than be selected by a convention. The City voted and changed to hold elections with the County and now the City needs to change the candidate process. This change would allow more people to file and run for office. Mayor Billings advised that the only change being voted on by passing this amendment is to put money back for the 2012 Mayor’s pay that was removed with the adoption of Article 165, pay ordinance. Mr. Juniper stated that the raises being removed were not supposed to have been given. Juniper was told that they were cost of living adjustments. Juniper said that elected officials should not have received those adjustments. He knows that Council approved pay raises for the administration effective July 1, 2007, and no other raises should have been given. Accountant Dave Snowden stated that while he was employed by the State Auditor’s Office it was not uncommon for those positions to receive the cost of living increases. He also said that if the auditor’s was contacted by municipalities to ask if it was proper, answer would have been yes. Juniper mentioned that when the pay ordinance was adopted it was discussed that the pay for the Clerk/Treasurer needs to be addressed. He would like to see the ordinance show the biggest part of the salary is for the Clerk, an elected position, rather than the appointed position of Treasurer. Juniper also wanted to know how administration determined the method of payment for the salary of the City Clerk/Treasurer, as well as, the Mayor/Manager of water and sewer. Clerk Tatterson stated that based on what she has learned, it was prior administration that asked for accountant Jeff Feamster to change the payment to 1/3 from the general fund, 1/3 from the water fund and 1/3 from the sewer fund so that each fund was contributing equally. James Bowles told Council he is tired of talking about what happened in the past and wants to move forward. Bowles said that the current issues pertaining to illegal pay raises have been corrected and what happened in the past needs to stay in the past. Juniper advised that he feels the raises were not approved by Council and it was not right. Attorney Stein advised that all he has seen in the way of pay changes was when the cost of living adjustments were given and the occasional quarter here and there to different departments. The pay ordinance was established to meet code requirement and issues were addressed at that time to correct the increases that should have not been given and Council needs to fix the salary for the Mayor of 2012. Juniper made a motion to amend the third reading of the pay ordinance and allow the finance committee to meet. The committee can make a recommendation to Council to set the salary for the Mayor for 2012. James Bowles added the second motion. Gary Cotton advised that the clerk/treasurer’s salary also needs addressed. The finance meeting was set for January 20, 2011.
Motion to approve the amendment to the third reading of the pay salary and for the finance committee to make a recommendation passed 8-0. Juniper asked for all paperwork he obtained from the payroll clerk is sent to committee members to look over prior to the finance meeting.
Mayor Billings advised Council he has received the contract for the 2011 Regatta fireworks. If the contract is sent early the City will receive a discount of extra fireworks. Billings mentioned to Council that the Regatta Committee attended last year’s council meeting and they stated they would support fireworks on the 4th of July this year. At this time, the Regatta is set to be held June 30th through July 2, 2011. Billings asked Council how they wish to proceed and a motion was made by James Bowles to approve the fireworks contract and hold the fireworks on July 4, 2011. Marshall Bonecutter added the second motion which passed 5-1-2 with Gary Cotton casting a no vote while Sang and Juniper abstained.
Billings told Council he has received the application for this year’s West Virginia Make It Shine and the deadline is February 18, 2011. Denny Bellamy headed the program last year and the Mayor asked Council for a motion to participate again this year in April. William Park made the first motion and Leota Sang added the second motion, which passed 8-0. Linda Smith asked for the Mayor to mention the Recycle Round-up to Mr. Bellamy in hopes the two activities can work together. Sam Juniper wants the City to encourage recycling in Point Pleasant to help cut the landfill costs.
Mayor Billings spoke concerning a recent visit from Dave Farley with CSX. The Mayor advised that he, the City Inspector and City Clerk took Mr. Farley through the City to visit all railroad crossings. Mr. Farley advised that CSX has shown interest in closing a couple railroad crossings within the City. Mr. Bowles advised he would like to see the 14th Street crossing closed since no one stops before crossing them, it is an accident waiting to happen. CSX would compensate the City with cash, road work, or paving. Mr. Farley has asked to address Council in the February meeting to further explain the process.
*At 8:06 p.m. Mayor Billings asked for a motion to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters pertaining to employment of a City employee. Gary Cotton made the first motion while James Bowles added the second motion which passed 8-0.
*At 8:12 p.m. Sam Juniper made a motion to come out of executive
session and Gary Cotton added the second motion which passed 8-0.
Upon returning from executive session Mr. Juniper made a motion to hire employee (A) as a full time welder, mechanic and CDL driver for the Street Department at minimum wage with benefits. Mr. Bonecutter added the second motion, which passed 8-0.
Gary Cotton asked about re-districting and was advised by the Mayor that a meeting will take place with the County Clerk sometime in January to discuss this topic. Cotton also asked for annexation to be discussed during that meeting to allow the City to expand borders and gain more B&O taxes from businesses that are currently located along borders.
James Bowles also stated that the City needs to look into annexation of border businesses.
Marshall Bonecutter asked if a camera could be placed in Kingtown to determine who is dumping debris. Mayor Billings advised he would make a call to the DNR officer and ask him to make contact with Mr. Bonecutter to discuss this issue.
Robert Doeffinger told Council the public meeting with Burgess & Niple to discuss the North Point Pleasant Drainage Project (NPPDP) had a good turn-out for attendance. Doeffinger stated there were a few issues that a resident voiced and Burgess & Niple are doing research on the issues. He also said the engineers are looking at concerns occurring north of 28th Street. Doeffinger advised another sewer meeting will be necessary. It was decided to hold the meeting the same evening as the finance meeting being held January 20, 2011. Doeffinger asked Attorney Stein if he could get the contract with Region II Development to Kathy Elliott so she can assist the City with financing for the NPPDP. Stein advised he would try to get the contract to Ms. Elliott. Doeffinger told Council the floodwall project is coming along nicely and stated a road would need to be put back after the completion of the project. He also recommended using crush run gravel for the walking trail that runs along the floodwall. Mr. Bowles stated that he would like to see gates put up and signs posted that state only authorized vehicles should be behind the floodwall. Bowles advised several vehicles are traveling behind the floodwall and during all hours of the night and it could be a liability issue for the City. Doeffinger asked the Mayor what the duration of the floodwall project will be and was informed that it should take approximately 4 months. Councilman Doeffinger also asked for the Mayor to see that some trees are planted once the project is completed since much of the vegetation is being removed. Mr. Doeffinger reminded Council of the Neighborhood Watch meeting that is to be held at the Mid-Ohio Valley Center January 11, 2011 at 6:45 in room 115. He feels the program is going well so far and those involved are communicating through facebook. Doeffinger concluded with the Leon Sewer project numbers that had been published in the newspaper. He stated after the NPPDP rates are in effect Point Pleasant will be in the middle of other municipalities. He also gave handouts showing other municipality water rates. Point Pleasant is on the lower end of the scale for water and a rate increase is necessary to keep up with expenses.
William Park mentioned it would be a good idea to see the water information provided by Councilman Doeffinger in the local paper for residents to view. Tatterson advised she would send the article to the register.
Linda Smith asked Council for a moment of silence for the tragedy that occurred in Tucson Arizona. After the moment of silence, Smith stated they are all public officials and things can become elevated quickly and this could happen anywhere at any given time.
Sam Juniper stated that he agreed with Sang about changing the candidate nomination procedures and he plans to gather information for Council to read pertaining to the election procedure. He would like to see the ordinance changed to allow anyone to run for an office rather than the convention deciding on candidates. He said he knew someone who wanted to run for Mayor and was unable to due to the fact they did not have enough time in with that particular party. Mr. Doeffinger asked what it would take to make a change to the current procedure and Juniper advised he thought it would be an ordinance change. Juniper stated he would do further research on the ordinance and state code for making the change and present it to Council the next meeting. Juniper asked the Clerk if she was able to send B&O letters to landowners who own rental property that should be paying B&O taxes. Clerk Tatterson indicated she sent notices out to the property owners. Juniper told the Mayor that he feels when the Department of Health and Human Resources sends workers for the City to use, they should send a letter that indicates those workers are subject to some type of drug testing. The Mayor advised that Mr. Harper, with the DHHR, was on the agenda this evening and he should be able to answer our questions and concerns, however, he was unable to attend. Mayor Billings asked Clerk Tatterson to contact Mr. Ron Harper to ask him to come before Council to answer these concerns. Juniper stated that City employees are subject to testing and not testing others working for the City could be subject to liability issues. Juniper asked the Mayor if he could provide him with an overtime report from May through December. He had previously asked for those, but did not receive them. Juniper concluded with asking if the City’s snow plow was broken down since his ward did not have snow removal over the weekend. The Mayor advised he was not aware of any problems with the plow and stated that the Street Department is salting the roads.
Being no other business, Councilwoman Linda Smith made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m. James Bowles added the second and the motion carried.
Amber D. Tatterson, City Clerk
Brian L. Billings, Mayor